It is your choice. What is your decree?

December 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
(Luke 2:1-4 (NIV))

Where did Ceasar Augustus get the idea that this census should be taken?

God uses non-believers to accomplish His will.

This census was probably the most important census in all of human history, for it set into action the fulfillment of the prophesy regarding the place of Jesus’ birth. God, through all of His infinite wisdom, used Ceasar Augustus to fulfill His will.

If God used Ceasar Augustus, who, both believer and non-believer, is God using today to fulfill His will?

We sit and watch the news and hear about war, rumors of war, false peace, and we are watching God’s will unfold before our eyes. We do not know at what stage in God’s plan we are, but we know that God is in control and that He is revealing history as we watch.

Do we, as believers, have the luxury of sitting idly by and watching it unfold, or do we have the responsibility to be an active part of God’s plan?

Jesus told us that we should recognize the season. He also told us to go into all the world and make disciples.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Are we making disciples in this time of harvest?

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Luke 10:2 (NIV))

Are you a willing worker?

Are you praying for a bountiful harvest?

Or are you simply content to watch as things unfold?

It is your choice. What is your decree?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

November 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

What is your biggest priority in your life?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is family. To be honest with you, that is a good priority to have. but is it the biggest priority?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to leave their mark in the world. Do you think that whatever mark they may try to leave will even be remembered one hundred years from now?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to make lots of money. This, in and of itself, is not bad. What is bad is the love of money. If you want to make lots of money simply because of greed, what does that get you?

No matter what your priorities are in life, if you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then everything pales in comparison to placing the Lord first.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Genesis 20:3 (NIV))

Is there any priority in your life where placing the Lord first would not be a better option? If you place your family as a priority, imagine how much better it would be if you, and your family, placed the Lord first. What if leaving your mark on the world meant that you shared the Gospel with those around you and you lead many to a saving grace in Jesus? You would be remembered for all eternity by those whom you led to Jesus. If you desire to bring in lots of money, what if it was a priority to bring in lots of money to buy Bibles to distribute to those who desperately want God’s Word.

What we place as a priority is only bad if that priority is not Christ centered. Each of us have a different calling. Each of us have a unique way to share the Gospel. Our gifts and our desires should not be our priorities. How we use them to testify to the good news of God’s grace should be the utmost priority.

Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to help share?

August 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

The Great Commission!

These are the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ before He ascended into heaven. They are so important that He saved them for last. It is always the last words or deeds that someone remembers.

How well have we, as believers, followed these important instructions? Have we gone to the ends of the earth? Jesus knew that not everyone who needed to hear the good news would be halfway around the world. He knew that many who would need to hear would be in our own back yards. Do not feel that because you do not go on missions to foreign lands you cannot be a valuable tool for the kingdom.

Jesus never left His geographic area during His three year ministry. He shared the Gospel with people who shared it with people who shared it with people. Wherever we are we must share the good news of Jesus Christ.

We, as the Body of Christ, have an assignment. We are to take the good news and spread it throughout the world. Jesus did not stay a baby. He matured into the fulness that God had planned for Him. We have been given an assignment to share the good news so that the world will come into its fulness.

Are we following Jesus or are we still stuck at the manger?

Are you able to help share?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Joy to the world! Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:1-20 (NIV))

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you done with the good news?

July 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
(Luke 4:18 (NIV))

Do you like good news?

I have never met anyone who didn’t like good news. I have met some people whose definition of good news was not the same as mine. With that said, what do you consider to be good news? Is your definition that same as what the early church considered good news? I am sure you know this, but perhaps you, like myself, need a refreshing of your memory every now and them. The word Gospel means good news. When you read the Gospel, you are reading the good news of Jesus Christ. In this particular passage, we are reading the Gospel according to Luke. Even though Luke did not walk with Jesus when He was on the earth, Luke made it his mission to compile accurate accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus. Luke didn’t know Jesus, yet he believed the good news when he heard it. He believed that Jesus was and is the Son of God and that He is the Messiah. He believed that Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, and on the third day He arose from the grave. He believed that Jesus ascended into heaven and that He is preparing a place for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior.

Luke loved the good news so much that he not only believed it, but he recorded it so that it could be shared with others. He took the good news and made it possible for generations of people to know the good news as well.

What have you done with the good news?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you being responsible in telling about Jesus?

May 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
(Luke 10:16 (NIV))

I know that I have read this passage before, but it struck me differently when I read it tonight!

Do you realize what this means? I am not saying this to pat ourselves on the back. I am saying this to let the Body of Christ know of the power that we have when we speak the name of Jesus in truth. If we truly know Jesus, and we truly know God’s Word, and we tell others of the power and the truth of God’s word and His Word made flesh, then we truly are representing Jesus to those who hear.

If they accept what we say and, as a result, they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, then they have also accepted God’s redeeming love for them. They have accepted the place that has been prepared for them in God’s eternal kingdom.

If they reject what we have to say about Jesus in truth, it is the same as if they were rejecting Jesus face to face. According to the passage, they are rejecting God!

I realize that this can weigh heavily on each of us. How do you feel knowing that the people that you tell about Jesus have rejected God? It makes me feel sad for those who do reject Jesus and God. Still, we must tell all whom we see.

When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:18-19 (NIV))

It is our responsibility to tell the world, to share the good news of Jesus Christ!

Are you being responsible in your assignment?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Go and tell those who don’t know!

May 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.”
(Romans 15:20-21 (NLT))

Do Paul’s words sound like the church today?

Most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior do not have the boldness to do what Paul is talking about. I hate to say this, but most of us do not have the boldness to even speak the name of Jesus in situations that are less than ideal. By this, I mean in situations where we would face ridicule and rejection because we profess the name of Jesus. I have even seen people who are afraid to profess their faith in Jesus before the members of their own congregations.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
(Romans 10:9-10 (NIV))

Faith in Jesus takes a boldness.

Sharing that faith with others takes a boldness.

Do we have the boldness to profess our faith? Do we have the boldness that Paul was writing of? Do we have what it takes to tell others of the grace and mercy that is theirs for the asking?

What if the people who shared Jesus with you had not possessed the boldness?

What if the people who left their homelands to seek a place where they could worship freely had not possessed the boldness? What if Paul did not have the boldness?

There are so many people who have come before us who did have the boldness to speak the name of Jesus and to share His Good News. Do we, as the church, as the keepers of the truth, own the boldness that is required to tell a lost and dying world about the saving grace of Jesus?

Go and tell those who don’t know!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you filled with great boldness?

April 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
(Acts 4:29 (NIV))

How strong is your faith?

Are you willing to stand against those who ridicule you because of your faith? Are you willing to speak the truth even when the truth is not popular? Are you willing to risk everything you have in order to speak the Word of God into a dark and dying world?

Or, are you like most people and too timid to speak up for what you profess to believe?

I know that I may make some people mad with that last question, but we all need to stop and ask ourselves this on a regular basis. If we are not willing to speak the truth of God’s Word, then are we fulfilling the task that we have been given?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

Do you see anything in this passage that looks as if the Body of Christ is timid?

Why should we be?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If we are timid in our faith, is it really faith?

Are you sure of the things that Jesus has done? Are you certain of the salvation that you have been given? If you had been given a mansion, you would tell everyone that you encounter about the great gift that someone gave you. What God has given each of us through the shed blood of Jesus is far greater than any earthly mansion, yet we fail to tell anyone about it. Why are we willing to be bold in certain things while we become timid when we are talking about our faith?

I know that there are those who will profess a faith in Jesus because it makes them feel good, but this is not what Jesus promised.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Jesus promised peace through the troubles that He knew we would face. It takes a boldness to face the world and proclaim the truth!

Are you filled with great boldness?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you like Paul?

January 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
(Romans 7:21-25 (NIV))

I find it very interesting that Paul, the very man whom we all are indebted to for bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced these temptations and issues in his life.

I also find it very comforting to know that he faced these issues in his life!

I know that this sounds strange, that it sounds like I am glad that he faced the issues, but it is not a macabre sense of gloating even though it may sound like it. Paul’s account of his trials gives me comfort, for if someone who faced these tests as often as he says he did can find salvation and favor in the eyes of God, then it is possible for even me to find salvation and favor.

Paul considered himself to be chief among sinners, one of the worst, yet he found salvation. He found grace! He found it in the midst of his sin on the road to Damascus. He found it while on his way to commit a horrendous sin against God and against the Body of Christ. Paul’s life is an example of how God can turn someone around and use them for His glory no matter how off course that person may have been to begin with.

When God finds you, be prepared to have Him show you the things that cause you to sin. You will be amazed at what you do that you wish you didn’t. Rejoice in the good news that in the midst of your sin, Jesus is advocating for you and working within you.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Book of Life!

June 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:11-15 (NIV))

The book of life!

God’s book of every name that has ever called upon His Son, Jesus, as their personal Lord and Savior. What a book this must be. The simple act of having your name recorded in this book saves you from an eternity cast in the lake of fire for an eternity with God.

Revelation makes it clear what happens to those whose name is not in the book of life. Is this something that we can accept for our family and friends who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? Can you honestly look at them without feelings of urgency and despair? Can you sit idly by while they continue to make a decision to make no decision for Jesus? Can you look at them the same way knowing that if something were to happen to them, they would be included in the group who is cast into the lake of fire?

Look at these people, and yourself, with eternal eyes. What can you do to portray Jesus to them in a way that they will show them the grace and mercy that is available if they will only accept it?

Jesus gave us a commandment to go into all the world and spread the good news. What can we do to get people to understand that Jesus offers salvation when they do not know the consequences of no salvation? We must be able to convince them of the need for salvation. We must not forget the fate of those who are not in the book of life.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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